I’ve always considered myself “athletic” but never “healthy”. Often times, many people think the 2 are interchangeable but I’m here to tell you they aren’t. Sure, I’ve been able to play soccer but there were times that I jumped into a game only to feel the painful effects the following day or the next few days for that matter. When I actually played a season, it would take me at least 3-4 games to get into game shape.
I mention all of this to you for a couple of reasons. First, many of you might be aware of the lifestyle change I’ve been going through since September. I’ve been participating in a competition at Oakland Christian set up similarly to NBC’s Biggest Loser. In that time, I’ve lost weight, stepped up my exercise, and made lifelong changes to how I look at food and how I eat. Second, as a country the trend is going in the wrong direction. According to the CDC, over one-third (35.7%) of Americans were obese in 2009-2010. If you look at the trend since the late 1990s, you will be even more alarmed.
I never really paid attention to these statistics before. I assumed I was somewhat healthy and healthier than the rest of the U.S. Boy was I wrong. It wasn’t until I stepped on that scale in early September that I realized I needed to get serious. I’ve done the up and down with my weight but was never able to maintain it for an extended period of time and when the scale registered 201.1, it was time to get to work but I wasn’t sure how I was going to do it. Fast forward to November 9 with a weigh in of 176.3 and a total weight loss of 24.8 pounds. In just over 2 months, I’ve been become the healthiest I’ve been a long time, I’m able to post good run times for me, and now I play soccer without worrying about “saving my energy” in games. So how did I do it?
You have to have a goal. For me, when I stepped on the scale and saw a weight that disappointed me, the goal was to lose the weight. In my head, I wanted to drop at least 20 pounds but as I got into the program, I increased the weight loss goal to 32 pounds for a goal weight of 169. With anything you do, have a purpose or goal. You have to know WHAT you want to accomplish and for me, I had data to back up the need for me to start shedding some pounds.
Once you know why you want to lose weight, you can focus on the how but before I share with you the tools I’ve been using, I also wanted to mention that if you do a program like this, do it with other people. Being in community with people holds you accountable. It motivates you and if you’re in a contest, who doesn’t want to compete? This has been one of the biggest motivators for me as I want to encourage but I also want to win! Now on to the tools.
Nike released their Fuel Band earlier this year and I was hooked. Not only was it a cool piece of technology but it tracks my activity with steps, calories and Nike’s own metric, Fuel points. Each day, you set a goal for Fuel points and your activity earns points to achieve that goal. On top of that, you can see how you rank with friends that also have the Nike Fuel Band with a fully integrated iPhone app and badges you earn for achieving goals and milestones.
The My Fitness Pal iPhone app has truly become my best friend. With this app, I was able to document the food AND portions I was eating to make sure I was achieving my calorie goal each day to support my weight loss targets. Throughout this entire competition, I’ve learned that what you eat and how much of it contributes to the success you’ll have in getting healthy.
I have 5 great reasons as to why I did this. Their names are Julianne, Gina, Joshua, Jessica and Luke. Since turning 40 this past March, you begin to notice the subtle aches and pains. You notice it takes a little longer to recover from any activity. You also realize, your kids are getting older and they want you to play with them and that means being able to keep up with their energy and participate in their activities. I could do this before but I just couldn’t do it well. What this also has done is given Julianne and I a “project” to do together! We now can encourage each other by eating well, going on runs or bike rides, and enjoying the progress we are making by losing weight.
Finally, this experience will also be a good teaching opportunity for my kids to value their health and what they eat. If we as parents are modeling a healthy lifestyle to our kids, they then have an example to follow (hopefully) that will give them the tools they need to live and eat healthy and hopefully pass that on to their kids and future generations.
I’ve learned a lot about myself in these 2 months. Yes, exercise and diet are the main focus but you also need to be motivated and don’t give up easily. It’s not a quick process and as they say, “results very”. Since I’m all about sharing my experiences with you, this is what I’d like for you to take away from this rather long blog post about my health kick. It’s pretty simple.
- Have a goal
- Track your goals
- Be in community with people to hold you accountable and encourage
- Don’t give up
- Pray and give thanks to Him for your success. I wouldn’t have been able to do this without God’s help and the people He put in my life to encourage me.
This is serious business everyone. The health of our country is going in the wrong direction. If you live in Michigan, you will be happy to know that we are the 5th most obese state in the country. My hope is that you will think about what I’ve shared with you and not be accepting of these trends. You can still eat what you want but you also need to balance it with exercise and how much you eat. Once you’re able to get past this being a “diet” but rather a “lifestyle” you’ll succeed.
As we approach the end of 2012, why not consider making a drastic and healthy change for 2013?